I read with interest the letter to you regarding our Forest Park Carousel, which I so aptly named The Jewel of Forest Park in 1985. This was at a time during which an intense drive was being mounted to reopen this Jewel. In 1985 the reopening of our carousel was very important, for rumors abounded that it would be moved elsewhere, or the beautifully hand-carved wooden animals sold off individually. I remember when state Assemblyman and then Judge Frederick Schmidt, state Sen. Serphin Maltese, city Councilmen Arthur Katzman and Walter Ward and community representatives met with the Parks and Recreation Department to find a new concessionaire.
We were very fortunate to find a wonderful concessionaire in 1989, who reopened the carousel, after many years of its being closed, neglected and the object of vandalism and attempted arson. This concessionaire repaired the calliope, cleaned the carousel area, renovated the carousel, and added rides for the children, making it a magical showplace in Forest Park. Now again, after experiencing a neglected, uncaring concessionaire and being closed for several years, the Jewel of Forest Park is again shining.
Although it was open over Memorial Day, as last week’s writer stated, it is not fully operational yet, and there are many rough edges to be smoothed over. But I have faith in Parks’ choice of this concessionaire, and they have promised that as of July, all the amenities will be in place. So as the writer of this letter remembers, and I remember, we can once again “enjoy the afternoon and sometimes the evening while partaking of the food and drinks at the concession stand.” Then this Jewel of Forest Park will shine in this magical place to be enjoyed by young and old.